How often in your life have you read this passage in Mark 9:
20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.
21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.
22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
I always read this passage and see it from Jesus’ perspective, “If you can?“. I usually mentally shake my head at the poor father and see this situation as exposing his unbelief, the real problem. Until this week.
This week I put myself in that father’s shoes and imagined what it was like for him to watch his son thrown into fire and water over and over for years. Can you imagine the anguish and helplessness the father experienced? I know I can imagine it. I have loved ones who are thrown into various fires and drowning experiences and I have tried, like the disciples, to bring Jesus’ healing to them. I have clients who hear God’s word and nothing changes or they are better for a while. Then they are drowning again.
Now it is me asking Jesus to help, if you can, if you will. I get weighed down with the heartache. No one easily endures another person’s suffering. We may try to distance ourselves and say, why is that person continually throwing themselves into the fire?! It isn’t as obvious to me that they are under the devil’s deception as it was in the Book of Mark.
But God reminds me that He is both loving and powerful. I do believe, help my unbelief!
There is always more to any story:
25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.”
27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Unbelief tempts me to give up but belief that God is both powerful and compassionate prods me to continue to pray for those who are tossed to and fro by the devil’s devices. I do believe! Help my unbelief!